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Some advice from those who have taugh mixed ability maths

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Bobby_Carrot, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Our schools is moving from setting for maths to teaching your own class across ALL year groups. I have been teaching a set this year so I have been differentiating 3 or 4 different ways across 6 sublevels (3a/4c to 5b/5a) but I nervous how to manage the teaching in a class where children will be levels 1a - 5a. The 1a child cannot even do basic number bonds, whilst those at level 5a are able to solve equations. I have taught a mixed abislity year 4 class before but the children ranged from a 2c to a 4c. Also there are some behaviour difficulties, particularly with some of the LA children when they are asked to work independently as they have always had support throughout school and there has been a lot of TA support available in their LA set.
    Clearly I will not be able to do the 'normal' three or four part lesson type teaching here, so my thinking was to set the HA off on a task and get them to use their thinking skills and each other for how to work it out and then perhaps have some practical hands on activities for the LA children to encourage the skills they are missing (e,g, number bonds, simple adding, place value recognition, etc...) and then start off with the MA on the carpet for an input.
    And then moving this around during the week so that a different group has the input each day.
    For those that have taught scross a 13 sub-level spread like this, how many learning objectives would you have? I could potentially have 6 or 7 and how do you then sub-divide the success criteria for each learning objective? I usually have one LO with a sub-divided success criteria (sometimes 2, 3, 4 and on occassion 5) with a different success criteria for each group depending on their task./activity, and children can move around within these.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of mixed ability planning for this type of ability spread so that I can get an idea of where to start or websites/resources that offer advice on this.
    I should have some TA support but not sure whether this is going to be every day, although it will give me more flexibility to ensure my numeracy sessions are timetabled when I have a TA in the class (although this will be at the expense of literacy support).
    Grateful for any advice from anyone who has taught a numeracy to a class with this spread of abilities.
     
  2. Our schools is moving from setting for maths to teaching your own class across ALL year groups. I have been teaching a set this year so I have been differentiating 3 or 4 different ways across 6 sublevels (3a/4c to 5b/5a) but I nervous how to manage the teaching in a class where children will be levels 1a - 5a. The 1a child cannot even do basic number bonds, whilst those at level 5a are able to solve equations. I have taught a mixed abislity year 4 class before but the children ranged from a 2c to a 4c. Also there are some behaviour difficulties, particularly with some of the LA children when they are asked to work independently as they have always had support throughout school and there has been a lot of TA support available in their LA set.
    Clearly I will not be able to do the 'normal' three or four part lesson type teaching here, so my thinking was to set the HA off on a task and get them to use their thinking skills and each other for how to work it out and then perhaps have some practical hands on activities for the LA children to encourage the skills they are missing (e,g, number bonds, simple adding, place value recognition, etc...) and then start off with the MA on the carpet for an input.
    And then moving this around during the week so that a different group has the input each day.
    For those that have taught scross a 13 sub-level spread like this, how many learning objectives would you have? I could potentially have 6 or 7 and how do you then sub-divide the success criteria for each learning objective? I usually have one LO with a sub-divided success criteria (sometimes 2, 3, 4 and on occassion 5) with a different success criteria for each group depending on their task./activity, and children can move around within these.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of mixed ability planning for this type of ability spread so that I can get an idea of where to start or websites/resources that offer advice on this.
    I should have some TA support but not sure whether this is going to be every day, although it will give me more flexibility to ensure my numeracy sessions are timetabled when I have a TA in the class (although this will be at the expense of literacy support).
    Grateful for any advice from anyone who has taught a numeracy to a class with this spread of abilities.
     
  3. WIthout being flippant, how do you manage to teach your class for any other subject?
    Surely you currently teach literacy and science....???
    Differnetiating from P-Levels to Level 6 is not unheard of in a primary and indeed the gap widens further through the eduction system.
    The key is always management and organisation - of time and deployment of the reosurces ou have including TA and your time etc.
     
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I have almost always taught mixed ability, it is only the last 2 years that I haven't.
    My first year 5 class had a child who was unable to count on his fingers and make it to ten and also a child working at a secure level 5 as well as all levels in between.

    Almost never had more than one LO, but did sometimes make them rather more generic. So 'recognise and understand shapes' works for those recognising square, circle, triangle and for those looking at properties of quadrilaterals.

    Almost always did one whole class mental starter and one whole class plenary. Personally I think that is really important, though not everyone does and it is up to you. Definitely have a range of questions within that starter, etc.

    I work with 5 group tables and so 5 levels of differentiation. In independent work I work with one group each day in rotation. If I happen to have a TA, unlikely, then great they get a group as well but it has never been a regular thing.

    If you give each group work they can do, but that moves their learning on, and set up strict rules for who they can ask for help, then there is no reason to have any more behaviour problems than in any other lesson.
     
  5. Yes absolutely and it isn't flippant because that is what I keep telling myself but I am completely struggling to get my head around it. Their levels in lit and science are not as wide spread as the numeracy levels and I have done a boy with P-levels in a class of level 2 and 3 children and he did completely different work.
    I often give my SEN/LA children a completely different task to my MA and HA children in literacy or if I were writing instructions I would expect them to include different elements in the finished work (i.e. my SEN writing using full stops but my level 5s to use every item on the success criteria checklist) or I would expect them to approach the task differently, so the SEN children write 4 steps wheilst everyone writes 8, or the SEN/LA children perhaps have a cutting,sticking and ordering activity to do.
    In science the differentiation seems to come more when they have to write up the experiments, for example a TA might scribe for them or they will have a prompt sheet with some of the information on or I might use picture clues to help them. It also comes from my questioning, so the level of questioning is different for LA/SEN children to those of a higher ability where I would be expecting them to relate it more to real life examples or previous experiences, but as we all know, these lines are often blurred and many of my LA children can actually be good at science (experiments and verbally) but only struggle when they have to put pen to paper. Or they will be learning about the same thing but will have different experiements to complete (if in ability groups).
    Perhaps this is comething I need to highlight on my CEDP for future development - I think voicing it out loud has helped me reflect on perhaps an area I need more development on. Thank you :)
     
  6. Minnieminx - can I ask what you class size is for doing this too?
    I think perhaps starting with generic learning objectives is perhaps the way forward. I think with sets it it easier to be more specific but that certainly makes more sense.
    I also use a few starters that can be differentiated so will probably start with them. I could also get the HA kids to run the mental starters as they would enjoy that (and I have seen that done before).
    It's like anything, always tough when asked to move out of our comfort zones :) But I also know it will be a very useful learning experience :)
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    In my career anything from 25 to 36.

    You could also, with a decent ethos in your classroom, get the LA children to run the starters. Or pairs of children. Or the middle children. Or indeed any children you wish.

    You will be fine.
     

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